The cold is the biggest obstacle for comfort during winter—that’s why you have a powerful central heating system in your home. (If you don’t, call us right away and we’ll arrange to have one installed before the winter weather arrives.) But homeowners often ignore, or aren’t aware of, another winter comfort obstacle: dry conditions. Relative humidity during the winter often plunges below 30% because of all the moisture frozen from the air. When the air is this dry, it makes it harder to stay warm, even with a great heating system at work. And this isn’t the only problem dry air can inflict on you and your household during winter.
Why Dry Conditions Make It Feel Colder
You already know that when it’s humid, you feel hotter. It’s the opposite when it’s dry—you feel colder. The reason for this is how humidity levels affect the body’s ability to release heat. The higher the moisture level in the air, the slower the body expels heat through perspiration. (It’s harder to perspire when the air is already saturated with water.) When the moisture levels drop too low, the body starts losing heat faster. This is why drier conditions during a hot day feel more comfortable. But when this happens during the winter, as it often does, it gives an extra bite to the cold. A 20°F winter day may seem like a 10°F day—a substantial difference!
Other Dry Air Troubles
The chillier feel to the air is only one of the problems you might have to deal with during and arid winter day or night:
- Low humidity is bad for the skin, eyes, lips, and nose. When moisture escapes from the body, it leads to itchy skin, cracked lips, and eye and nose irritation.
- When mucus membranes and sinuses dry up, it makes the transmission of illnesses far easier—leading to an increase in sickness through the season.
- Moisture is also pulled from surfaces around a house in dry conditions, and this can damage wooden objects and lead to peeling paint.
The Solution: A Whole-House Humidifier
The best way to beat the high cost of low humidity is to properly balance the levels with a humidifier in Burlington, VT. You can purchase small, portable humidifiers—but these are not great options for a home. They’re only useful for an infant’s room, and they don’t provide much control, leading to rooms becoming too humid.
A whole-house humidifier, on the other hand, is integrated into the HVAC system so it adds moisture to the air sent around the home. All the rooms receive humidified air to raise the relative humidity above 30%. Using a control called the humidistat, you can adjust the humidity level to around 45% (this is a recommended level for comfort and health) and avoid troubles from places in the house becoming too humid.
To find out more about the installation of a whole-house humidifier, speak to our HVAC and indoor air quality professionals today.